As the time for my residency interviews approaches, I’ve been thinking back on what my med school interviews were like.  One of the weaknesses I had during interviews was thinking of good questions to ask.  You will almost definitely hear, “So, what questions do you have for me?” during at least one interview.  The interviewer may be simply asking that out of habit at the close of the encounter, but it is crucial that the response not be a mere, “nothing.”  But how can you ask a good question when you don’t even know what med school is like?  As a 4th year med student who has been around the block, here are some things I think would be worth asking about any med school.

  1.  What kind of resources or guidance does the preclinical curriculum provide in preparation for Step 1?  How much time off are students given to study for Step 1?
  2. Your (insert IM, surgery, or other program you’re interested in) seems to be quite outstanding.  What exactly makes it so well known?
  3. Which of the clinical rotations would you say are the strongest at this school?  Why?
  4. What kind of extracurricular opportunities are there for students?
  5. Can you tell me more about the student run health clinic?  How can I get involved in that?
  6. Are there elective opportunities available during 3rd year?
  7. What are the research opportunities like?  How do students find research opportunities at this school?
  8. What kind of career guidance is available to students?

If you have the chance to talk to medical students in a casual setting where you are not being evaluated, I would ask them about the culture at the medical school.  Ask if there are gunners, how prepared they felt they were for Step 1, what their clinical rotations were like, which clinical rotations are strong or weak at the school, what their call schedule is like, which hospitals they rotate at, how career advising is like, and where most of the students live.  These are things that I really had no idea about asking when I was interviewing for medical school.  Lastly, as a general guideline, I think it’s best to ask positive questions that allow the interviewer to talk highly of the school.

I’m sure there are other better questions out there too, so let me know in the comments section below!

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